For as long as I’ve been alive, American conservatives have struggled to get young people involved in their movement. If American Renaissance’s recent conference is any indication, the Alternative Right is on the cusp of a renaissance.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that a political movement’s online presence will translate into real-world potency. Bernie Sanders’ supporters have been finding this out the hard way, as exit poll after exit poll shows that “Berners” can’t be bothered to put down their bongs and amble over to the voting booth. On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a fap-addled nerdling living in your dad’s basement.
Fortunately, the alt-Right doesn’t need to worry about this. After attending the American Renaissance conference in Nashville last weekend, I’m convinced that despite recent online scuffles, we’re on the up-and-up. For all of the Left’s characterization of us as ignorant, elderly rednecks, AmRen – and the Alt-Right in general – attracts urbane, smart young men who are committed to their beliefs. To put it simply, we are going to win.
I’d already seen how much progress the Alt-Right has made in the past year when I attended the National Policy Institute’s conference in Washington, D.C. last March. Despite being only four hours long and having only three speakers, NPI drew around 100-150 people and the event was standing room only. Not only that, the bulk of the crowd was young men in their twenties, more so than NPI’s October conference.
Still, NPI has the advantage of taking place in the nation’s capital. AmRen is held at the hotel in Montgomery Bell State Park, a 45-minute drive from Nashville and sufficiently rural that there’s barely any cell phone service. Would there be enough fashy goys to fill up the conference center this time around?
The answer turned out to be yes. While last year’s AmRen saw record turnout, this year’s event managed to break the record again, with Jared Taylor musing during his opening remarks that the conference would have to find a new home soon. Even more strikingly, a significant number of the attendees were recent converts to the Alternative Right. When Taylor asked how many people were attending AmRen for the first time, more than half of the audience raised their hands. And like NPI, most of the new attendees were 30 and younger. There were also significantly more women, though the conference was still overwhelmingly male.
What also stood out about AmRen compared to previous identitarian conferences I’ve been to was the energy. In contrast to last year’s conference, which had the atmosphere of a cocktail party among old friends, this year’s AmRen had the mood of a burgeoning political movement. While there was no overt theme (in contrast to NPI’s March conference being themed around “Identity Politics”), it’s clear that Donald Trump’s success in the presidential race has injected vitality into the movement. As I joked to a few attendees, it won’t be long before we’re running our own campaigns for public office.
Conversely, the antifa turnout for this year’s AmRen was the saddest I’ve seen yet. From 2014’s horde of angry neckbeards warning us “Nazis” to “remember Stalingrad” to 2015’s anemic crowd waving “Racists Are Buttheads” signs, AmRen 2016 drew a grand total of three protesters, all of whom didn’t even look like they were sure what they were protesting.
Daryle Jenkins, Fat Albert lookalike and usual protest ringleader, was also nowhere to be seen. Word at the conference was that he and his gang of professional agitators were too busy protesting a Trump event to spare anyone for AmRen. Or maybe they couldn’t spange enough gas to make the drive.
Even AmRen’s lineup of speakers seemed to reflect the increasingly youth-driven nature of the Alternative Right. Jared Taylor set the mood for us almost immediately by playing a video by Walt Bismarck/Uncuck the Right, known for his satirical remixes of popular songs, paying homage to the trolling that has propelled the Alt-Right to the center of Western political discourse. Ruuben Kaalep, youth leader of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia, delivered a searing speech incorporating Estonian history, contemporary European nationalist politics, and Pepe the Frog memes.
Finally, no report on this year’s AmRen can ignore the massive media presence. While both Red Ice Radio and The Political Cesspool broadcast live from the conference (the latter’s host, James Edwards, was also a speaker), the hotel was swarming with flacks from Buzzfeed, Vice, Talking Points Memo, and more. Two separate journalists asked to photograph me because I was wearing a Donald Trump button, while during one of the coffee breaks, I and a number of other guys helped to get a Filipino reporter up to speed on why we hate cuckservatives.
As someone who’s been laboring in the trenches for nearly seven years – before the terms “Alternative Right” or “manosphere” were even coined – the sheer electricity of AmRen 2016 was overwhelming at times. I never thought that this movement would not only become popular, but become so powerful that it could influence presidential races and alter the course of world politics. Going to after-parties with guys (and girls) my age, cracking un-PC jokes, and meeting countless fans of mine – many of whom told me that it was my writing who got them involved in the Alt-Right – was a humbling experience.
While I’d caution the Alt-Right about becoming too self-congratulatory – it’s easy to get overconfident when you’ve had a few successes – AmRen 2016 shows that our movement has legs. Anyone who is on the fence about attending AmRen, NPI, or any other identitarian conference needs to go: as arrogant as this may seem, you’re meeting the potential future leaders of the West.